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Our Lady & St. Gerard's

R.C. Primary School

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The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate

We aim for our English curriculum to be progressive and challenging.  The overview below shows the main texts used by each year group and the main writing focus.  Within the year, additional units may be used to meet the needs and interests of the children, to respond to current events and to focus on key skills.

English Curriculum Overview EYFS to Year 6

Spoken Language

Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing.  We aim to provide a variety of quality language-rich experiences so that pupils develop their vocabulary.  This has a positive impact on children's ability to understand and comprehend whilst reading and improves writing. 


Children are given opportunities to explain their thinking, present their ideas and participate in drama activites to develop their spoken language skills.


Where children have particular issues with spoken language, specialist services may be involved to support them.

Spoken Language Curriculum


To be a competent reader, both dimensions of Word Reading and Comprehension need to be taught via different kinds of teaching.  Skilled word reading involves children being able to develop a sight vocabulary of familiar words and the ability to decode unfamiliar words.  For more information, see our Phonics pages.Our teaching of reading focuses on the two dimensions:

Word reading

Comprehension (Listening and reading)


In EYFS, our children learn about different letters of the alphabet and how they represent sounds in words.  Through adult-led activities and continuous provision, children become increasingly competent in using their phonics knowledge to decode words.  Children progress in their reading by building on these skills to become fluent readers by the end of KS1.  


Comprehension involves using knowledge of language and grammar along with knowledge of the world/experiences to make sense of what we read.  For more information about how we teach reading, see our Reading pages.

Early writingWriting


Writing Key Skills

From the earliest starting points, children are encouraged to make marks, whilst developing an effective pencil grip.  Children in EYFS learn that their marks can carry a meaning.  Through the use of phonics, children then begin to use recognisable letters to represent words.  These early building blocks of writing pave the way for the curriculum in KS1.


We believe that it is crucial to secure certain key skills to ensure that our children become fully literate.  Each year group works towards a wide and varied English curriculum but the Key Skills for each year group are our 'non-negotiable' standards.  These Key Skills are the 'stepping stones' to becoming fully literate and gaining a secure command of the English language. 

We work alongside pupils to ensure that these skills are mastered and secure.Year 6 poetry


Our children benefit from opportunities to develop their writing in a range of contexts and for a range of purposes.  We strive to provide real reasons to write to engage our learners.  The children learn features of different text types/genres through their reading and text exploration.  They learn the effects of different vocabulary and are encouraged to use a wide range of vocabulary in their own writing.  Our curriculum is progressive and builds on the skills taught in previous years.


We aim to develop skills in:

  • Writing to entertain
  • Writing to persuade
  • Writing to inform
  • Writing to discuss


Handwriting policy

Our handwriting policy sets out the way handwriting is taught in our school.  From an early age, we encourage mark making and an efficient pencil grip.  As parents, there are ways that you can support your child's handwritng at the different stages of their schooling.  Please see our policy for information about developing fine motor skills and pencil control at the early stages of writing.  All information about how each letter is formed, including starting points, joins and letter 'families' is also included in the policy.



We follow the National Curriculum for spelling and use a variety of resources and strategies to help children to commit the spellings and rules to their memory.  The statutory requirements and examples can be found in the Appendices of the National Curriculum for English.


Children often read words more accurately than they spell them.  By the end of year 1, pupils should be able to read a large number of different words which contain the Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences that they have learnt, whether or not they have seen these words before. Spelling, however, is a different skill. Pupils learn more than one way of spelling particular sounds, then their ability to choose the correct letter or letters depends on their either having made a conscious effort to learn the words or having absorbed them less consciously through their reading. Younger pupils have not had enough time to learn or absorb the accurate spelling of all the words that they may want to write.


We believe in learning spellings in a practical, specific way, with research indicating that these strategies are much more powerful than traditional methods of learning spellings by rote. In Early Years and Year 1, the children learn how to read and spell mainly through learning phonics and will apply their phonics knowledge in a variety of ways in their early writing experiences.  Multi-sensory approaches are often used.   From Year 2 upwards (or earlier if the child is ready), we begin to teach children how to spell using different strategies, through our Phase 6 phonics and later through our spelling programme 'No-Nonsense Spelling'. 


Our teachers deliver spelling lessons linked in with our English lessons and/or handwriting focus sessions.  We teach children how to spell using different strategies to help them commit the spellings to their memory. Children are set spelling homework via Sumdog each week – these may be year group specific words, words relating to topic work or words they have been finding tricky when writing in class.


The learning strategies shown here are introduced incrementally throughout our spelling programme to help children to commit spellings to their memory.  They can be used to support learning spellings at home. 

Weekly homework is set via Sumdog but these strategies should be used to support the learning.


























Year 5 Sci-Fi Day October 2021